The only good thing about Donald Trump is that he has made time slow down. As we get older, every year seems to pass more quickly than the last in the rush toward death. But the Trump regime has slowed all of that down and the year since that dark night when he was elected has felt as long as any since high school.
As in high school, this slow-moving but insanely intense sense of time has seemed to heighten the emotional impact of music. When a song rings right and seems to express the horror and angst that emanates from the world around you, it feels glorious.
This collection of songs comes from the music editors of papers across the nation. As I was writing a column about the Trump regime for a number of alt-weeklies — and trying to find ways to take “alt” back from the Nazis — I ended up talking to a lot of editors and writers around the country and we thought if we could bring together the best protest songs from as many cities as possible, we might learn something about the state of dissent — while also finding some relief. — Baynard Woods
Lonely Horse: “Devil in the White House”
San Antonio, Texas
Shots fired! Lonely Horse come out guns-a-blazing with the track “Devil in the White House.” Opening with a sludgy cadence that crescendos into a tumultuous rock ‘n’ roll explosion, the “desert rock” duo of Nick Long and Travis Hild make very clear their feelings about the 45th POTUS. — Chris Conde
Thunderfist: “Suck It”
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sure, there are more articulate ways to denounce Trump. And revolution by example — countering blustery, bigoted bullshit with artfully composed, well-reasoned takedowns — is how we’ll effect change. That doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally vent our rage by strapping on Les Pauls, cranking up Marshalls, raising middle fingers and offering a blues-based, punk-rock invitation to fellatio. And maybe also, as the final, snarling chord slides into silence, calling him a “fat baby fuckface.” — Randy Harward
Trombone Shorty and Dumpstaphunk: “Justice”
New Orleans, Louisiana
Trombone Shorty and Dumpstaphunk teamed up on a song called “Justice,” which they released on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated president. A melange of funk, jazz and New Orleans brass band sounds, the video for “Justice” slyly marries video footage of Trump against pointed lyrics. “Inauguration Day seemed to be an appropriate time to voice the need for equal say and opportunity for all people,” said Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville. “We entered a New Year with a lot of unanswered questions on the subject of ‘justice’ that we all felt a little uneasy about. But there’s only so much we can do and this track is our way of expressing our worries.” The song is available on most streaming services. — Gambit Weekly
DBL DRGN: “Trim the Bushes”
Charleston, South Carolina
There were several election-reflection songs that came out of Charleston following November 8, 2016. One of those that stood out for us is by a local hip-hop duo — Damn Skippy and Bad Mojo — dubbed DBL DRGN. Before releasing the audio, the guys filmed the video for the song “Trim the Bushes” on Election Day. With Bad Mojo dressed as a dragon, high-fiving passersby, the silly aspect of the visuals was meant to complement the circus-like atmosphere of the 2016 election — it also brought a smile to the faces of voters on an otherwise stressful day. The video was released on Inauguration Day, another attempt to lift the spirits of those who felt the doom and gloom all too well that January morning. In the single, the duo rather brilliantly mash up George Bush (“Fool me once ... can’t get fooled again”) with Bob Marley (“You can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all of the time”), while the video shows footage of Donald Trump’s remarks on everything from immigration and Mexicans to birtherism, Putin, John McCain and women. The acknowledgment of all the things we as progressives find disturbing about the current administration, coupled with the sense that folks should keep their heads up (and alert) and stick together for the duration of the hand we’ve been dealt, was the perfect combo. Check out the video for yourself. — Kelly Rae Smith